Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Close encounters with an arrogant, abusive smoker

Friday night was NOT a good night.

The bus was late (long-weekend traffic -- understandable) so this meant that we all had to line up for the bus at the Oshawa GO station.

I recognized everyone in the line except for the odd few, but the majority are fellow commuters I see day in and day out and some of them are entitled and ignorant smoking jerks.

These people know the rules. They just don't care to follow them. Also in line were people I know who smoke but who do play by the rules. The entitled and ignorant smoking jerks don't care about them.

With fifteen people in line, two jerks at the front decide to light up while they wait for the bus. Then, one guy behind me lights up and then, this other asshole appears out of nowhere and proceeds to light up RIGHT BESIDE ME and exhales right into my face.

I saw red. I got real mad. I have asthma and because of this stupid eye condition I've developed (CSR), I'm off all my asthma meds which means I am extremely vulnerable to triggers, meaning I'm at risk for an asthma attack. I can die from an asthma attack.

I didn't even bother to be diplomatic. I'm sick of being kind to smokers, politely approaching them quietly and reminding them of the by-law and pointing out the signs. I completely lost my shit. I was full-on yelling.

I yelled at all the smokers. I lost my temper. I lost my cool and then, much to my embarrassment, I burst into tears. I was able to regain my composure within a matter of seconds but that was not cool.

I truly have had enough. I am in the process of speaking to a lawyer to discuss how to approach the province of Ontario along with Metrolinx about this rampant, wide-spread problem of abuse among every single GO station in the GTA. Maybe I'm wasting my time (and money) but I'm sick of this nonsense. It's ridiculous. I'm also fed up with always being the one who has the nerve to say something while other people stand idly by, but later, when exiting the bus, will crouch down next to me and thank me for taking a stand. That's not right. It's not fair.

One smoker, who called me "sick" after my outburst, harassed me for his entire bus ride. I was shaking with rage and anxiety. I ignored him, choosing to play with my phone, write some tweets and act like he wasn't bothering me. When he got off the bus, he told me he'd do his best when he saw me to ensure "I got cancer".  Those were his exact words.

I don't know who raised these people. I don't know how people like him feel they're in the right and I'm in the wrong. All weekend I've been thinking about the incident and making a few calls. I feel very alone in this fight. I feel like no one cares about us non-smokers. 

I feel bad for the smokers who do behave. It's the ignorant idiots who create situations like what's happening in Thunder Bay. The transit company up there has created a pen, I shit you not, to put the smokers in because the situation was out of control. Talk about humiliating, right? But in Thunder Bay, it's come to this.

Designated smoking areas built after riders object to breathing in second hand smoke


Anonymous said...

Hey Metrolinx...are you listening?
Probably not.

elvis said...

Good on you. Fight the power.

jamie s said...

Jesus. All you had to do was go into the station and wait for your bus to come and then get on once everyone was on. Girl, get your shit together. Why would you endanger your health like that? You're the one who is ignorant. If you know these people WILL SMOKE, then YOU have to take charge and put yourself in a safe place. Use your head woman!

C.J. Smith said...

You're joking, right?
You don't get it. I know you probably mean well but don't patronize me. Not right now.

Anonymous said...

Sorry CJ!!! I'm sorry you had that happen. I feel like you do about the situation but it's what happened to you is the reason why I stay quiet when a smoker lights up next to me when I wait for the bus. I don't want problems. I just want to get home. You have to think about your safety. What if that man hit you? I know you didn't think Jamie had a point or he missed the point but you need to walk away from these assholes.

Anonymous said...'re one of those self-entitled assholes that thinks he can light up whereever the fuck he wants aren't you?

The point is, she is NOT the one that should get out of line and wait somewhere else. It's the fucking smokers that should, plain and simple. You choose to smoke, follow the fucking rules and smoke where it's designated.

I'm so sick of smokers that claim "it's my right to smoke". The second you endanger somebody else, it is not your right. Move to where you are permitted to smoke.

Why is this so fucking difficult for you assholes to understand??

CJ, sorry bout the swearing, but these idiots really piss me off.

Todd said...

Jamie S and Anonymous (11:41) your arguments are the same ones made when people say women shouldn't dress provocatively if they don't want to get raped.

People should be able to dress how they like without living in fear. Just like CJ should be able to wait for the bus without fear of death.

If it's a public lawsuit that gets the province to take action then that's what we have to do. I think you are right to consult a lawyer. I think this could be a class-action. I'd be willing to contribute to the legal costs.

Todd said...

The Thunder Bay pen is great but the same problem exists, no one will use it without enforcement. I find it interesting that TTC has the same policy (no smoking anywhere on TTC property) but I have only once seen someone smoke on a bus platform. Maybe those frequent announcements actually work.

C.J. Smith said...

It's ok. I understand the frustration on all sides here. I get the swearing, too.

George said...

AFAIC, those assholes who continue to slowly kill themselves should be put in a pen and given all the free smokes they want. The faster they kill themselves, the better off we normal people will be.

I find it hard to believe in this day and age of instant information, people can be so devastatingly stupid as to smoke. I wonder if the average IQ of a smoker is below non-smokers?

CJ I had a run-in recently with a totals fuckwad who decided to light up in an Oakville GO bus shelter with 5 other people in it. Self-entitlement seems to be a prevalent condition amongst the losers who smoke. She did put it out after several loud and increasingly nasty comments as to her smell, her brown teeth and her lack of intelligence. :) She was stupid enough to complain to the driver and actually expect action to be taken against the nasty non-smokers.

Keep up the good fight I'll certainly support it as much as I can ;).

People who smoke are exceptionally stupid, and the fact that they smoke proves it.

MATT said...

At the Union bus terminal, there are smoking areas off to the side from the lines for the buses. If I want a cigarette before a get on the bus, I have one in there. I do not smoke in line, because it's ignorant to everyone in line not smoking (whether they are smokers or not).

People who decide that they'll smoke where they want to piss me off. It's not hard to follow a simple rule requiring you to smoke, or not smoke, in designated areas. I bet these people don't light up in a restaurant...funny how their decisions to break the law are selective like that.

Bicky said...

Where do I contribute to the legal fund?

It's unbelievable that some people can be so rude and disregard others when in public.

Somebody's gonna go all Michael Douglas on someone's ass because they've had enough of the crap that goes on. (If you've seen Fallen Down, you'll get the reference to Michael Douglas.)

Anywho, if you're taking donations, let me know. I'm in.

Bicky said...

^ The movie is Falling Down. Gads, what a maroon.

skin man said...

I don't think it's smoking that causes a drop in IQ. I see examples of antisocial behaviour all the time from non-smokers and smokers alike. It is just us humans...we kinda such at getting along as a race, (although some of us are better at it than others!).

CJ I will happily contribute to your legal bills - tell me where to send money and how much I would be ecstatic to see this stop.

Anonymous said...

I agree with George, I always wonder about the intelligence of anyone who inhales something into their lungs that is toxic and known to cause cancer.
I feel your pain CJ more people need to stand up to these ignorant, self entitled assholes. You want to endanger your own life with a nasty habit forming toxin go right ahead but don't force others to suffer from your idiocy.

Unknown said...

I too, will gladly donate to the legal costs if it goes to trial.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some sort of crowd funding website can be used to collect legal costs?

C.J. Smith said...

No need to crowd find yet... I'll keep y'all posted

Todd said...

I suspect a threatening legal letter sent to Metrolinx would be enough to spur some action on enforcement. The key is it can't be just a short enforcement blitz, it has be to ongoing and consistent.

Anonymous said...

You handled it much better than I would have.

I've walked up to people smoking on the subway car before and taken the cigarette out of their mouth and put it out. It ends well about 1 time out of 3.

Usually I ask them "what, are you f%&#@ng stupid? Can't you read?" when I do it and point to the no smoking sign.

That ends poorly too often. I act before I think it through.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is a new business opportunity. Literally, "rent-a-cop". Pay an "auxiliary policeman" a fee to show up and enforce bylaws.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that many people are simply not growing up these days. They have the moral compass of a child.

Anonymous said...

Water gun strategically aimed at their face should do the trick.

Anonymous said...

It certainly sounds like those smoking were inconsiderate, but please help me understand - you're lining up next to buses spewing diesel exhaust and tobacco smoke is what's going to trigger your life threatening asthma attack?

How did you manage to go anywhere before the indoor smoking bans? How do you even walk along any downtown sidewalk? I'm not defending the smokers, but you do sound like a bit of a hypochondriac.

C.J. Smith said...

I've covered off comments like yours before. At this point, it's less about my health and more about people obeying the by-law.
I'm old enough to remember the good ol' days. They were rather lonely ones, holed up in a dark basement while I avoided smokers and other environmental triggers.
But then medical research prevailed and life became easier for me and I could venture beyond the basement.
But for the record, I don't wrap my mouth around a muffler for 10 minutes while I wait for a bus.